Is Winnipeg, Canada the next Immigration Paradise?
What makes an up and coming international job market location or city? If you are even thinking about moving abroad then you should be asking yourself this question.
Of course, most people looking for an international job picture themselves living in one of the more established cities in Canada. However just like the housing market, people who are ahead of the curve usually end up the most satisfied in the long run and this is why we suggest you consider the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba.
Many years ago, most immigrants would have cringed at the possibility of moving to a city like Edmonton or Calgary in the province of Alberta. Known for its cold weather, cowboys and country music, few could have predicted that a city like Calgary would have a growing and vibrant immigrant population and an extremely popular mayor, Naheed Nenshi, of East Indian origin.
In the past, international workers have moved to Calgary, started families, and made extremely good money on salaries and in housing. Today, the perception is that cities such as Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto are difficult places to start building a life and find success from the ground up.
Which brings us to Winnipeg, Manitoba. A city with a population of just under 800,000, it is projected by the city that Winnipeg will grow by approximately 10,000 people per year for the next 20 years and will reach a million people by 2033. This in and of itself is not particularly interesting news for the average person outside of Canada looking to immigrate. What is interesting is that Winnipeg has three characteristics that combined with one another make it a prime candidate to become the next immigration paradise for international workers.
Immigrants come to Canada for jobs. Not just a job, but also the ability to find a different or better job in the future once they make the decision to move overseas. Economic growth and future jobs matter and Winnipeg has this area covered. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the economy of Manitoba will be amongst the strongest in Canada in 2015 and will lead all Canadian provinces in 2016. Growth in the province of Manitoba is predicted to be 2.9% in 2015 as compared to the national average of 1.9% and is forecasted to lead the country at 3% in 2016.
For example, it is predicted by industry organizations that Manitoba will require nearly 12,000 new construction workers over the next decade to keep up with construction demand and Winnipeg is in the centre of this activity. Between housing starts, major hydroelectric projects and a resurgence in the Canadian manufacturing industry, it is being predicated that Winnipeg and Manitoba are quickly becoming a new centre of job growth activity.
Ripple Effect Location
Just like housing, multiple hot markets in surrounding areas can very quickly create the next hot job market. Think of this like the effect of throwing a stone into a pond. The activity is greatest where the stone lands in the water, but the ripples of the initial throw still create change in the surrounding water. The closer you are to the where the stone lands the greater the ripple. Yet, if you are in the middle of multiple stone landings the ripples in your area might actually be greater than the place where the other stones are landing.
This is the phenomenon that Winnipeg is poised to experience over the next few years. Three ripples creating markets surround Winnipeg. To the West is the booming natural resources and potash market of Saskatchewan. Very close to the south is the booming oil and gas economy of North Dakota in the United States, which according to Forbes in 2013 grew 13.4%, which was five times faster than the rest of the nation. Additionally, Forbes mentioned that North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in America at 2.6%. To the East is the manufacturing powerhouse of Ontario that is expected to see a resurgence in the next few years thanks to a booming US economy and a low Canadian dollar.
Winnipeg and Manitoba is growing and needs workers. Unfortunately for the city it will have to compete for labour with three powerhouse markets to the east, west and south. These ripples can only mean one thing…International labour recruitment.
Retiring Workforce Allows for Rapid Ethnic Diversity
Not every city is a good choice for international workers. Sometimes, a city is so engrained in its culture and attitudes towards foreigners that it becomes a real struggle for immigrant communities to find their place within the existing social norms.
What is required to make a city ripe for international migration is the possibility of rapid transition. The ideal ingredient for transition is a retiring workforce. This is because jobs are the gateway to attaining status in the community. Having status in the community leads to change. When a city’s workforce is rapidly retiring and being filled by younger more cosmopolitan workers then social change is more likely to take hold.
The workforce in Winnipeg appears to be ageing rapidly. This is very apparent in the construction industry where it is anticipated that up to 22% of the construction workforce will retire over the next decade. This is a very significant number and it is predicted that in the next few years about 3,000 tradespeople from outside of the province will be required to meet the economic demand.
The effect of this can already be seen on the ground. According to the National Post, Tagalog is now the second most-spoken language in the city of Winnipeg. Perhaps this is not directly as a result of a large retiring workforce, but one can easily see the germination of rapid ethnic diversity in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Picking a location to start a new life for you and you family is a difficult decision. Is Winnipeg, Manitoba the next immigration paradise for international workers? No one can predict the answer to this question, but it is a city that has all the makings of the next great urban immigration location in Canada.